Marketing Automation Blueprint

Marketing Automation for Entrepreneurs

MARKETING AUTOMATION BLUEPRINT

MARKETING AUTOMATION FOR ENTREPRENEURS

What do all the best marketing teams in the world have in common? They all use marketing automation to qualify their leads, close more sales and maximize their ROI. Here's the thing: These marketing teams aren't any sharper, wiser or more creative than you or your team; they just have the right tools. With these tools in their arsenal, modern marketing teams have the resources and infrastructure to deliver personalized and relevant experiences to all of their leads — effectively nurturing them into elated customers.

Whether you’ve been marketing your business for years and are looking to revamp and streamline your strategy or you’re brand new and want to jumpstart your marketing the right way, The Marketing Automation Blueprint is brimming with our best tips and strategies for setting up an optimal marketing campaign. You’ll learn the ins and outs of creating targeted, automatable marketing systems that generate powerful marketing results without losing sight of your personal relationships with customers.

Why Marketing Automation?

Historically, marketing acted like a publishing house with everyone running around trying to meet deadlines in a mad rush to get as many shotgun blasts out the door before the monthly numbers closed. But, those days are long past, and the age of the educated consumer is upon us. To accommodate this, marketers are now providing a more personalized experience — but how are they doing it? In one word: technology.

How We Got Here
For years now marketing, as an industry, has been at a crossroads. Many of today’s professionals have grown up in the sunset of the mass marketing era, and thousands of other hobbyist marketers have been given the opportunity to help bridge the gap between yesterday’s marketing tactics and tomorrow’s marketing reality.

Today, the outrageous proliferation of choice (a.k.a. competition) has given consumers more control than ever before. With the option to buy anything, consumers have demanded to be treated as intelligent beings, capable of making decisions based on education and facts — not just on the emotional appeals that worked for the Mad Men. 

Consumers want to be interacted with on their own terms — a sentiment that coined the phrase “permission marketing” — and on their own timeframe (hint: now!). In direct contrast to years past, consumers want the interactions they have with brands to be unobtrusive, helpful and meaningful to them.

 

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Today, we’re seeing the beginning of the next great wave of marketing innovation that will change the industry as we know it. With the advent and accessibility of sophisticated marketing software, the ability to integrate data across the company, and consumer demand for more personalized interactions, a unique opportunity now exists to transform entire marketing functions from “project-oriented” to “process-oriented.”
As a whole, marketers’ first response to the breakdown of our ability to mass-advertise their way to success was “niche”’ marketing. They chose a specialized target and made products, services and messaging tailored for it. The internet, of course, skyrocketed their ability to reach a zillion little niches and paved the way for specialization far beyond what anyone previously imagined could support a real business. 

Today, we’re seeing the beginning of the next great wave of marketing innovation that will change the industry as we know it. With the advent and accessibility of sophisticated marketing software, the ability to integrate data across the company, and consumer demand for more personalized interactions, a unique opportunity now exists to transform entire marketing functions from “project-oriented” to “process-oriented.”
A Unique Opportunity

Sans automation, many bootstrapping marketers spend their time managing projects. From organizing designers, copywriters and fulfillment to researching and negotiating advertising vehicles, it’s all about planning and executing relatively mass marketing project blasts. Whether it’s a print ad, a direct mail piece, or an email blast, it’s getting pushed out the door with the hope that some small percentage of your audience will be in the right place, with the right need, and at the right time. 

The more sophisticated marketers spend significantly more time slicing and dicing their lists into segments that receive offers designed for prospects like them, and they spend the extra time because it pays to do it.

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The workflow of both levels of marketer, however, can be reconciled with a single technological solution. Therein lies the big opportunity: developing processes of managing both prospects and clients — processes that are reproducible, automatable and designed to develop the company’s relationship with each individual as far as possible. Those companies and individuals who develop the skills to design, and the capability to execute, marketing processes that serve the needs of consumers and predictably generate sales have an enormous advantage.

The Absolute Power of Marketing Automation

While the forces that have created the drive to turn marketing into processes are generally external (competition, consumer demand, etc.), the benefits to your company can be extraordinary:
Do More with Less

Although the automation of now-manual processes is probably the smallest advantage, it can be significant, if only because it allows entrepreneurs and small business owners with tight budgets to effectively compete with deeper pockets. An unlimited number of prospects and customers can simultaneously be moving through any number of prospecting, upsell, cross-sell, referral programs and more. Instead of a team of full time marketers, you can have one marketing automation system.
Build An Asset

The development of effective marketing processes creates extraordinary value for a business. Imagine the premium a buyer or investor would have to pay for a company with proven marketing systems.
Safeguard Against Employee Churn

When companies DO find or develop an extraordinary marketing talent, they’re always at the mercy of employee loyalty... unless that employee developed a process that continues in his/ her absence. Similarly, if you’re a marketer, how much more valuable are you if you have the skills to develop significant company assets that you can leave behind when you go?
Deliver More Relevant Experiences

It’s possible to develop automated systems that segment prospects as they interact with your business and then deliver more relevant, timely, and personalized experiences based on their interactions. Conversion rate improvements of hundreds of percent are common when consumers are strategically segmented and targeted.
Real Time Process Optimization

When processes are run automatically and everything is measured, your job as a marketer changes dramatically. Instead of project managers, you become optimizers on the lookout for what’s working, what’s not, and where the greatest opportunity for improvement lies. Since automated marketing becomes an ‘always on’ system, results are monitored in real time and changes are made that take effect immediately.
Better Forecasting

The ability to track, measure and predict marketing results has benefits for all entrepreneurs and small business owners. From demand forecasting to asset allocation, it’s nice when marketing’s not such a mystery and when you can easily predict what will (and what won’t) work for your audience.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE
What is Marketing Automation?

Customers want you to interact with them on their own terms, and marketing automation is the tool you need to do it. In this chapter, you’ll learn what marketing automation is, what it has to offer your business and how to tell whether or not you’re ready to implement it.
CHAPTER TWO
Automating Your Lead Generation

You can’t market unless you have an audience. Find out how to gather contact information from potential customers that you can use to stay in touch and nurture them into leads.
CHAPTER THREE
Automating Your Lead Follow-up

Once you’ve got leads flowing in, you’ll need a plan to follow up with them consistently so that you can turn them into loyal, paying customers. In this chapter you’ll learn strategies to continue building the relationship through automation.
CHAPTER FOUR
Measuring and Improving Results

With a marketing automation platform in place, you can track the success of all your marketing efforts in one central place. This chapter will reveal strategies for measuring your lead generation efforts and the performance of your follow-up campaigns.

CHAPTER ONE

WHAT IS MARKETING AUTOMATION?

As a business grows out of infancy, there comes a point when one-on-one interactions with all prospects and customers is no longer feasible, given a steady influx of traffic. Hitting that milestone necessitates you hiring a marketing director capable of designing, building, and implementing sophisticated marketing campaigns at scale. Before you know it, your upscaled marketing campaigns have outgrown the resources at your disposal. You find yourself drowning in manual, repetitive work that's now eating away at your time and budget like never before. Confronted with these growing pains, you’ll have no choice but to  hire a full-time marketing team — all so you can burn dollars on a staff performing redundant work ad nauseum.

So how does one solve this problem or, better yet, pre-empt it? Marketing automation.

How?

Marketing automation is done with software — software that streamlines your repetitive marketing tasks, segments your leads, manages workflow and measures your results. So instead of manually sending new leads email or fine-tuning audiences for social media advertising, each of your campaigns run entirely on autopilot while giving you a top-down view of how everything is performing with your leads, prospects, and customers.

​​​​​​​Here's what you're able to do with marketing automation in place:

Lead generation
Lead qualifcation
ROI reporting
Marketing tracking
Behavioral segmentation
Social media marketing
Email/SMS marketing
Landing page building
Manage email marketing campaigns
Manage multi-channel marketing campaigns
Retention
Personalization
Lead prioritization

Each of these contribute to your well-oiled marketing machine from which you'll generate a generous boost in revenue and a productive, dramatically more efficient marketing team. That is, if you’ve got your top of funnel in ship shape.

Top of Funnel Comes First

Before you even consider automating your marketing, you need to answer these two questions:

Are you hitting your projected ROI with the leads you've already collected?

Are you generating an ample number of leads from your particular market?

What too frequently happens is that entrepreneurs and marketers put the cart before the horse: trying to squeeze too much juice out of their existing leads while failing to secure a steady stream of organic leads to begin with. A dialed inbound lead generation strategy is an absolute prerequisite. Think of your competition. While you're toiling over a small portion of leads, the other guys/gals are snatching up your potential share of the market.

Therefore, be aggressive in attracting your market. Though you may already have a number of hot prospects in your funnel, what good are they to your business trajectory once they've purchased and you've only crumbs left to sustain you? A consistently full pipeline is your sturdy foundation for marketing automation (see Chapter 2).

When Is the Time to Automate Your Marketing?

These are the telltale signs you’re ready to start automating your marketing:

You’re generating a steady flow of new leads.
Your sales team is inundated with qualifed leads.
You have a tried-and-true nurturing pipeline that needs to be scaled.
You’re facing a resource defcit as there’s not enough time to perform your manual tasks.
You’re struggling to track your leads’ behavior across all touch points.
You have a definitive handoff point between marketing and sales.
If one or more of these applies to you, there's no time like the present to start automating your marketing processes. Just remember, marketing automation isn't a magic marketing generator; it simply scales and streamlines your existing efforts for peak performance and max ROI.

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CHAPTER TWO

AUTOMATING YOUR LEAD GENERATION

At its core, the purpose of lead generation is to attract as many new prospects (future leads) as possible. Prospects are gained when they choose to opt in by sharing contact information such as an email address. This information is used to nurture prospects and encourage them to take the next step toward becoming customers. 

So where do you start?

Well you can’t market to people unless you have an audience, and email is still the most effective marketing tool out there, so your first course of action is to build your email list. Then, and only then, can you nurture those contacts into customers with follow-up automation and further targeted marketing. 

Here’s what it takes to make that happen.

Phases Of Lead Generation

Awareness

Imagine you’re at a yoga studio, cooking class, conference or dog park. You see an attractive person from across the room and want to strike up a conversation. You share at least one common interest so this could be a great match! However, you first have to get this other person to notice you. Just like in dating, creating awareness is the first step toward building a relationship with customers.

Awareness means letting your leads know that you exist. This is your time to focus on developing content marketing to attract people who match well with your product or service. At this point, you aren’t attempting to sell anything or even get an opt-in. Rather, you’re focused on increasing your prospects brand awareness and knowledge of your business’s place in your industry.  This takes the form of brand marketing, public relations, social media and other outreach.

Evaluation

​​​​​​​Once you have your audience’s attention, you have to strike up a conversation and engage with them. This is known as the Evaluation phase. During this time, your prospects size up your business based on the free content that they’re offered. This generally takes the form of blog articles, videos, reviews, content guide pages and more. This content is unguarded so that prospects can evaluate it and get a base-level understanding of your business without a commitment.

Decision

​​​​​​​The next step is to build the relationship by asking for a very small commitment —kind of like a first date. Your goal is to give them an option that is very easy to say “yes” to. During the Decision phase, your prospect decides to divulge contact information in exchange for some type of educational content that interests him or her. This type of content is referred to as a lead magnet and is guarded content that is only delivered once the lead has provided the desired information. Lead magnets can take the form of an ebook, webinar, worksheet, free trial and more.

How to Acquire Customers

Lead Magnets

A lead magnet is an enticing piece of content, a product, or even a discount that’s offered up gratis in exchange for contact information — typically email addresses. For business owners and entrepreneurs alike,  a landing page is the best real estate for such an offer.  Lead magnet content is purposely guarded until the leads have entered and submitted their contact information to secure a mutual exchange. This act expresses interest and consent to being marketed to, after which you’re able to nurture those leads into customers.

Lead magnets can take many forms:

 

Guides

Guides, often referred to as ebooks, are tried-and-true lead magnets. Optimized for mobile devices and typically delivered in PDF format, guides offer up educational content and actionable insights on esoteric topics of particular niches — depending on the business — to your leads and prospects. It’s important that a guide delves into individual topics as opposed to encompassing a broad topic. If a guide is too general, prospects might not find the detailed information they’re looking for or not get enough value out of it.

At ONTRAPORT, we have a library of over 15 in-depth guides that correspond with our 10 main content categories. These categories have been identified as the topics that most interest our target market: entrepreneurs and small business owners. We cater all of our lead magnets to fit one of these 10 categories and then we track which lead magnet our prospects enter our database through and then nurture them into a conversion funnel that fits that interest.

Free Trials

​​​​​​​Another form of a lead magnet is to offer a free trial of your product in exchange for leads’ contact information via email or social media log-in. This is very common in both the health and software industries. Many personal trainers or gyms offer free workouts or classes to begin the process of nurturing their leads into paying customers.
At ONTRAPORT, we offer ONTRApages as a free lead magnet to our prospects interested in increasing their online presence. It’s a risk-free trial that doesn’t require a credit card to gain access to the software, so it doesn’t come across as a large commitment. The instant access is also enticing, as many leads would be deterred if they were forced to wait for access to a lead magnet. It is important to note that you should never grant prospects access to lead magnet content until they have provided their contact information. Otherwise, there will be zero incentive for them to give it to you.
Webinars

A webinar is another way to provide guarded content geared toward a specific audience. A webinar can be a live broadcast where a member of your team leads a workshop, discussion or educational course, or it can be a pre-recorded video that is emailed to the prospect after they have opted in. Either can be used as a lead magnet; you just have to be sure that your delivery methods are reliable.
Content Promotion

​​​​​​​There are two main types of distribution channels that are automatable:
Owned Media
Paid Media

For a great article that really digs deeply into the differences between these, check out this piece by Ben Harper. For now, here’s what you need to know about these two types of automatable distribution channels.

Owned Media

Owned media puts you in complete control of what is published and when. Your blog, your website, your company’s social media profiles and groups: Each of these is considered owned media. If you want to post an article you wrote at 2 A.M., you can! (We’re not saying that’s a great idea though.) 

Here are some pros and cons of using owned media to publish your content:

 

Paid Media

When you pay for media, you pay for the right to publish (or in some cases, promote) your content on a channel that’s owned by someone else. Essentially, you’re paying to increase your exposure. There are two main ways to harness the power of paid media.

By paying to publish your content on someone else’s channel.
This might include paying for sponsored content on The Huffington Post, paying for your content on Pinterest or Instagram to show up in your audience’s feed, or paying for your content to be included in someone else’s newsletter or podcast.
By paying to share links to your content on someone else’s channel.
Instead of paying to put your content where your audience already is, in this case you’re paying to get them to click over to your owned media. This includes many types of advertising and purchasing sponsored website links.

Here are the pros and cons of relying on paid media for content distribution:

 

One method of pairing paid media with automation is by integrating Facebook Retargeting with your CRM.

Retargeting

Facebook Retargeting Integration

Ever browsed the internet for a new pair of shoes, camping gear or a yoga class and then the next time you open Facebook, that exact product is right there on the side of your browser, reminding and tempting you? It’s definitely not a coincidence. In fact, it’s the result of a well-planned and well-executed retargeting campaign.

Retargeting (sometimes referred to as remarketing) is an advertising strategy where you track your website visitors who don’t take a specific or desired action (such as filling out a form, requesting a consultation or purchasing a product) and then systematically show them ads on another platform (like Facebook) in an effort to get them to come back to your site and complete the action.

Retargeting campaigns take the opposite approach of more traditional advertising strategies that target people who most likely have never heard of your product (sometimes called cold audiences). Instead, retargeting campaigns are based on the idea that someone who’s already shown interest in your business is more likely to convert into a customer than someone who doesn’t know who you are.

To put numbers behind this, we conducted a quick test. We advertised an offer to a cold audience that our ad buying team created in Facebook’s Ad Manager. The cold ad campaign results were:

Cost Per Click: $5.27

Click Through-Rate: 0.45%

Cost Per Acquisition: $142.51

Then, we promoted the exact same offer to a retargeted audience of leads who had previously visited our website. The results pretty much speak for themselves:

Cost Per Click: $1.03

Click Through-Rate: 0.76%

Cost Per Acquisition: $11.29

So, how do you find your leads on Facebook?

Integrating your CRM, sales and marketing data directly with your Facebook Ad program is one of the most effective strategies for building a robust and high-converting retargeting campaign.

Most software requests that you upload a list of contact info such as email addresses or phone numbers. Others, like ONTRAPORT, make this even easier: If an email address in your CRM matches a Facebook email address, it’ll link the two together. Facebook also uses pixeling to track if a contact has used another email address, which it typically will try to match as well.

Robust CRMs with this capability deliver your ads to your contacts who are on Facebook so you never have to manually export and import contact data; your Facebook Custom Audiences will automatically update with new leads and customers so you can send your audience the right ads at the right time.

You can also automatically update each contact’s custom audience membership in real-time based on pages viewed (or not viewed), products purchased (or not), webinar registrations or attendances (or not), links clicked, internal notes or field changes made by your sales team, or any other updates to your contact records.

In addition to retargeting those who’ve shown interest in a particular subject or your product, you can target them based on any data stored in your CRM’s contact database. Imagine running a birthday offer ad campaign on Facebook perfectly timed for each contact or running ads based on the contact’s stage in your funnel, with relevant CTAs.

Onsite Retargeting

Whereas standard pay-per-click based "offsite" retargeting handles leads who have visited your website and then moved on, onsite retargeting is a second chance at grabbing a lead's attention with a conveniently timed message BEFORE they leave your site.

When leads "bounce" from your website without buying or opting in, odds are you'll never hear from them again. But what if you were to incentivize them to at least hand over their contact information before leaving?

Digital Marketer found that their bounce rate decreased by 19.67% after implementing onsite retargeting on their web pages. Moreover, their visitors’ “time on site” went up an astonishing 54% almost immediately.

So let's say someone visits your website, spends a few seconds scrolling and inevitably starts moving their cursor over to the big “x” in the upper right hand corner to close the browser tab. Automated marketing software featuring onsite retargeting is capable of recognizing that behavior as exit intent and reacting with a targeted pop-up offer to sign up for a mailing list, download a free ebook, or even get a discount on a purchase.

The big pluses of Onsite Retargeting:

Build a quality email list

A retargeting offer to opt in to your email list in exchange for something not only has the lowest barrier to entry (since it's free) but also allows you to retarget leads further down the line using email marketing. By handing over their email address, they've expressed interest and are, therefore, a hot prospect to push further down your nurturing funnel.

Show targeted messages to the right audience

Not everyone who visits your website does so for the same reason, nor are they all on the same stage of the buying cycle. Some are intent on purchasing while others wouldn't even broach the idea of a free trial. It wouldn't make sense to communicate to these leads in the same fashion with boiler plate messaging — especially for businesses with higher ticket items or complex value propositions. With onsite retargeting you can target segments of your leads from the early stages of the buying cycle to the later stages.

Put your best offer forward

It’s typical for any business to have a number of landing pages that aren’t set up for conversion on-page; rather they’re a vehicle to drive traffic to another landing page on which they can convert. With onsite retargeting automation, you’re able to redirect visitors with exit intent to your featured offer or content. Wordstream, for instance, flashes its Free AdWords Performance grader to those who wander from the page.

Automatic Content Delivery

Perhaps the most significant advantage of marketing automation stems from the ability to deliver requested content instantly while simultaneously and dynamically segmenting your prospects, thereby delivering a more relevant experience — with zero oversight. Using a marketing automation and CRM database (like ONTRAPORT), you can automatically pull the information from your opt-in forms into individual contact records and then send those contacts targeted messages based on the data you collected from them. This means that leads will automatically be broken up into appropriate groups in which they’ll only receive content that pertains to their interests, goals or pain points.

Capturing Email Addresses on Landing Pages

To actually gain leads’ email addresses in exchange for the content you’re providing, you can use pop-up forms on your landing pages or links to outside landing pages that host opt-in forms. These forms act as a gateway to your content as well as a portal to your contact database.

Your opt-in landing pages should be a short-form promotion of the content within the guide.
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Grabbing headline
Identify your target’s pain point or desire and frame your guide as the solution to that problem.

Brief content description
Provide an enticing yet brief overview of what your lead can expect in your lead magnet.

Opt-in form
This is the most important element on the page. Make sure you are only asking your leads to provide the contact information you need.

Feature statement
Briefly explain the tangible things that your leads are going to get out of your content. Include at least four feature statement bullet points.

Delivering Content Via Email

A lead magnet is nothing without an automated platform to deliver on your promise of value. With absolutely no oversight required on your part, automation platforms deliver your lead magnet items to your leads via email, and then continue to automatically nurture your leads over time with additional valuable content and offers. From the top of funnel downwards, marketing automation features take a formerly labor-intensive process and scale it for any growing business.

CHAPTER THREE

AUTOMATING YOUR LEAD FOLLOW-UP

Attracting prospects and turning them into loyal, long-term customers involves ushering leads through a series of funnels designed to build a stronger relationship. 

Once your leads have said “yes” to your low-stakes offer, and have shared their contact information, they’re well on their way to becoming paying customers.  

Personalization

It makes good sense to communicate with all prospects about what they’re interested in — and it works. The goal is to get the right message in front of the right leads at the right time. Whatever data you use in your personalized marketing, once you start speaking to prospects according to their own interests, your results will dramatically improve.

86% of consumers say some degree of personalization lead to them making a purchase.

Why Personalization Matters

People give their attention to what they’re interested in, and different people are interested in different things. For example, some people are more interested in getting the best price while others are looking for the highest quality.

Drive More Engagement and Sales
Personalization of varying degrees is proven to increase conversion, engagement and retention — all three of which play into the growth of your business.

Improve Your Offering
​​​​​​​By gathering and assessing the data recovered from your personalized marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to refine your messaging — speaking clearer to each segment of your target demographic.

With a marketing automation platform, you can adjust your messaging to each or your prospects based on what you learn about him or her over time — thereby effectively communicating your value proposition. To do this, you’ll use different bits of data that you capture and store about each prospect. In general, there are two categories of data you’ll use:

Lead data you’re given on forms (their job title, gender, age, budget, timeline, etc.)

Lead data gathered based on their behavior

For every contact in your system, you’ll have a complete history of every email opened, clicked or responded to, every page visited, form filled out, purchase made, SMS sent and much more. Based on that, you’re able to automatically follow up with leads in the future with more relevant content and offers. In doing so, you’ll drive leads to personalized landing pages (PURLs) on which variable data is displayed - relevant to whomever is visiting that page.

Segmentation and Targeting

Say you own a catering company that specializes in different types of events such as weddings, holiday parties, conferences and anniversary parties. Not every prospect has an immediate need for every different catering package you offer, so it’s important that you deliver messaging that highlights how you fit into prospects’ situations and solve their most pressing challenges. You do that by segmenting prospects by the benefit (in this case, the event type) that they’re most interested in and crafting messages, offers and follow-up communication sequences to match. 

Relevance is the key to increasing response rates (see Personalization in Chapter 3). To create an effective segmentation strategy and process, you’ll need to:

Determine Key Segments
Decide the customer attributes that will give you the most initial bang for your buck. Start with ‘benefit/interest’ and ‘point of view,’ if you don’t already have an idea tailored to your business.
Gather Data
​​​​​​​Ask questions, send out surveys, and get to know everything you can about your customers.
Develop a Process and Materials
From here, you’ll want to decide what to do with each segment. Creating very targeted and relevant marketing communications and experiences is worth the extra effort. It’s not at all uncommon to double or triple the results from a marketing campaign by simply ensuring that the experience a prospect has is coherent from ad to web to phone, and reflects the prospects interests and expectations.

Conversion

The first step when creating a highly profitable online business is to develop your conversion funnel strategy so you can convert the leads you’ve gathered into actual paying customers. This is an area that most entrepreneurs and small business owners often overlook, assuming that leads will buy the product all on their own.

Post Opt-In

Many entrepreneurs assume that all you need to run a successful online business is to set up your site, choose a pricing model, and start driving traffic to your website. Visitors will automatically turn into new customers and existing customers will continue to buy from you. You’ll be making tons of sales by doing those simple tasks, right? Wrong!

If you want your business to be truly successful, you need to push beyond that basic logic and create high-value conversion funnels in your business, as they build lasting relationships and allow you to make more sales.


 

Thank-You Pages

Immediately after opting in, your lead should be directed to a thank you page that thanks them for their engagement and provides more value through additional content.

The thank you page should also inform your prospect where they will be able to access their free content. This might direct them to check their email or to click on a certain link.
Remember to never include your guide/video/etc. on the thank you page, or your leads might provide you with a fake email address just to access it.
Engagement Bonus: Use this opportunity to push new leads into your sales funnel by directing them toward more free content or even an opt-in bonus such as a discount on your core product.

Delivery Email/Pages

The delivery email is where you give your leads access to their free content. The email can either include a download link or direct them to the webpage where your content lives.  

Do not include a raw link within the email; use either hyperlink text or a button. This will ensure that your delivery rates stay high.

To make sure that your contacts receive future emails in your funnel, include instructions on how to whitelist your email address. See the image below for an example:

Bonus Content Email Funnel

After your delivery email is sent, your lead should immediately be put on a bonus funnel. This bonus funnel is a three-day email funnel that sends additional (and related!) free content. The first email in your bonus funnel should fire off one day after they receive the delivery email.

Great bonus content could include links to related blog articles, podcasts, videos, content guide pages, etc.  Just make sure that the content is relevant to the topic that they initially opted in for.

Newsletters

Those who opt in for your lead magnets are great candidates to receive any sort of recurring newsletter that you send out. Create a Rule in your delivery email funnel that automatically adds them to your newsletter group. This will keep you fresh in their minds, even after your bonus funnel has run its course.

Tripwires - Your Entry-Level Offer

Depending on the price point of your business’s main product, it may not make much sense to start offering it to people who have just opted in for your lead magnet. Instead, it’s probably a good idea to offer them something at a lower cost to focus on initiating the buying relationship.

A tripwire offer is an excellent qualifying technique for leads and a great way to get new customer on your list.

According to Digital Marketer, “This is an irresistible, super low-ticket offer (usually between $1 and $20) that exists for one reason and one reason only… to convert prospects into buyers. The goal of the entry level product is to fundamentally change the relationship from prospect to customer. The conversion of a prospect to a customer, even for $1, is magical.”

Columbia Records completely took over the music market by making an absolutely irresistible offer (13 records or tapes for $1) because they understood that acquiring a list of buyers is the name of the game.

But why sell something for only $1?

The reason: to build a valuable list to whom you can continuously sell rather than make a quick buck.

Once people make that initial commitment, they’re much more likely to buy from you again, if you’ve provided sufficient value. By selling your entry-level products at cost (or in some cases, at a loss), you’re creating an irresistible offer for your new customers that will “get your foot in the door” and make it much easier to sell a more expensive product later on.  You’re laying the framework for a big sale down the line.

Some examples of some great entry level offers include:

Membership sites

Training courses

Any other low-cost items you can think of

Your Core Offer

For many online businesses, with the vastness of the internet as potential customers, there is a tendency to focus on the initial sale.

The first sale is important (it’s where prospects becomes customers), but what happens after that initial purchase? Unfortunately for many, the first sale becomes the endpoint for their relationship with customers — their entire communication has been building up to the ultimate goal of the first sale.






A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by up to 95%.


– Bain & Company

But your relationship with customers shouldn’t end when they click “checkout.” That ongoing relationship, over the lifetime of each customer, is many times more valuable than that initial sale.

Creating and maintaining this relationship is the most effective way to increase revenue and one of the strongest marketing tools at your disposal.
​​​​​​​
Taking the above into consideration, the third and final part of your opt-in funnel is your core offer — the product that your business is built around or the product you are known for. Your core offer is at the base of your entire opt-in funnel, and selling it is the entire goal of your business.




A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by up to 95%.


– Bain & Company

Say you run a high-end web design agency. Customers opt in from your site and download an ebook about website design. After sending them a few promotional emails, they decide to buy your entry level product — a $10 online web design course. After another set of emails in which you promote your core offer — your agency’s web design services — your customers ideally decide to hire your agency to help them rebuild their website.

By building trust, providing value, and cultivating meaningful relationships with your customers, you just secured a client by doing very little work. All you did was give away some free content and sell a cheap training course online.

How to Automate Your Lead Generation

With your marketing built into an automated platform, you’re able to streamline, optimize and scale your marketing efforts by automating entire processes and tasks. That means creating personalized and targeted marketing funnels that automatically send messages — emails, SMS, postcards and even phone calls — based on preset rules and behavioral triggers that you specify, to generate powerful marketing results without losing sight of your personal relationships with customers.

Let’s walk through the generic steps to build your very own offer funnel in a marketing automation platform. We’re going to cover every step from getting contacts on your offer funnel, all the way up to your core product offer funnel.

STEP 1
Build Your Landing Pages

The first step to creating your own entry-level product campaign in a marketing automation platform is to create and publish your landing pages.

This includes:

Lead capture pages

Thank you pages

NOTE - We recommend against building your emails and funnels first as you’ll ultimately have to return to them at a later time to insert the final page URLs. Building and publishing your pages first circumvents this altogether.

Here’s what our campaign map looks like for this:

STEP TWO
Create Your Offer Funnel

Once your leads opt in, they should receive four bonus content emails that provide value to your contact and foster a trusting relationship between them and your brand. Once a lead has received these emails, they are subscribed to your offer funnel. 

The offer funnel features five emails that are meant to push the contact to your sales page. They are spaced out a week apart so as not to pester your leads but still remain top of mind. Each email has a different angle that should be used to persuade your contacts to buy your product.

Here’s what the emails in the offer funnel look like:

Day 0: Offer Email #1 - Personal Gain
This email is supposed to highlight how much the recipient stands to gain from buying the product.

Day 7: Offer Email #2 - FOMO
This email utilizes FOMO (fear of missing out) to persuade recipients to buy the product.

Day 14: Offer Email #3 - Logic
This email takes the logic angle and presents the benefits of buying the product in a clear and logical way.

Day 21: Offer Email #4 - Are You Still?
This email reiterates the problem that most recipients are likely facing. For example, “Are you still not seeing positive ROI on your email marketing?”

Day 28: Offer Email #5 - Have You Yet?This email is the last and final email of the funnel and is a hard sell on your product. This email is similar to the one above (where you reiterate the problem they are dealing with) but it pushes the problem much harder.

Once you’ve published your landing pages and have drafted your emails, you need to add a Rule that takes them off this funnel and adds them to the delivery funnel.

STEP THREE
Create Your Delivery Funnel
​​​​​​​

After contacts have ordered their product from your sales page, you need to automate the delivery of what they just purchased. Here’s how it should look:

Your delivery email should thank the recipient for purchasing the product and include a download link somewhere within the content.

STEP FOUR
Create Your Post-Purchase Funnel


​​​​​​​Just as we did when someone opted in for your ebook offer, once your contact purchases your product you need to send them three bonus content emails that link to articles and pages that offer value. This will further delight your buyers and help establish a connection with your brand. Here’s what the funnel looks like:

Day 1: Bonus Email #1

Day 2: Bonus Email #2

Day 3: Bonus Email #3​​​​​​​

STEP FIVE
Create Your Core Product Offer Funnel

After contacts receive all three emails from your entry level product’s post-purchase funnel, it’s time to add them to your core product offer funnel. This follows the same exact process using the core product instead of the entry-level product.

STEP SIX
Testing


​​​​​​​The very last step in creating your conversion funnel is to test everything! Once all of your funnels, pages, and emails are created and published, make sure you test every single part of your funnel. Go through the entire funnel to ensure you didn't forget anything, there are no spelling or grammar errors and, most importantly, contacts aren't falling through the cracks and landing in funnel purgatory.


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CHAPTER FOUR

MEASURING & IMPROVING RESULTS

With a marketing automation platform in place, you can track the success of all your marketing efforts in one central place. On a larger scale, that means you can see exactly how many contacts are entering your system, what lead source and medium they came from, what their interests are, and how your campaigns are performing with them. This capability will provide you with accurate marketing and lead data to optimize the marketing you’re presenting to each of your customer segments.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, in 2016 only 6% of B2B marketers consider their marketing automation efforts to be “very effective!” This is because many of them simply don’t know what numbers to measure in order to gauge whether or not they’re meeting their goals. Companies that report being clear on what success looks like actually show a far higher effectiveness rate - 55%. 

The best way to get clear on what success looks like is to identify the numbers you’re using to measure it. With that in mind, here are some numbers that every content marketer should understand and keep an eye on.

Landing Page Visits

The number of visits (or hits) on your landing page is a great indicator of your campaign’s overall traffic flow. According to Hubspot, “Tracking the number of visitors to your landing pages is a great way to see how much traffic you're driving to your content.”
 

How To Improve

If your landing page visits are low, it’s probably a good sign that it’s time to ramp up your content promotion and lead generation efforts.

Total Conversions

A conversion occurs when a prospect takes a specific action that reflects the goal of your campaign. According to Unbounce,  a conversion is “The ultimate goal of your campaign. A conversion is whatever you decide it is – submitting a form, downloading a piece of content, signing up for a free trial, making a purchase.”

Total conversions should be measured for just about any marketing automation campaign you run, no matter what your goal is. 

For instance, for lead generation goals, total conversions is going to be the number you measure to track your progress toward the goal, but it could also apply to lead nurture or brand advocacy goals - that is if you can identify a specific, measurable conversion point that tells you whether your prospect has taken the action you want them to.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is an important metric to keep your finger on when your goal is lead generation. 

On pages where you’re offering a free download or another incentive to capture your audience’s contact info, the success of your entire campaign hinges on a steady conversion rate. Having a poor conversion rate also makes advertising and promoting your content a greater challenge - since you have to work harder to get the same total number of leads.






Conversion rate is the percentage of people who compelte your campaign goal.

How To Improve

There are a few reasons why your conversion rate might be low. The first, and most obvious, is that the page isn’t properly optimized for conversions. There are many factors on your page that can turn visitors away and make them leave without completing your conversion goal, including poor design, a sub-par headline, or a blase call to action.

Cost Per Conversion

This is a simple metric that tells you how well your content promotion efforts are working. Basically, it tells you how much it cost you to get a conversion on your content - the total ad spend divided by the total number of new leads. Achieving a low cost per conversion should be one of the main goals of any content promotion campaign you run.
​​​​​

How To Improve

Optimize your campaigns! Focus on reducing your advertising and content promotion spend while increasing your conversion rate. You’ll need to optimize both your ads and your landing pages to drive down cost per conversion.

Cost Per Acquisition

Your cost per acquisition tells you how much it cost you to bring in a sale. This number is crucial for understanding how well your content promotion efforts are working.

According to Social Media Explorer, other metrics “don’t hold a candle to the Holy Grail of marketing metrics: Cost per Acquisition. In other words, how much do I have to spend in marketing dollars to get a paying customer?”

This metric can take some time to measure - at minimum, the length of one entire buying cycle. That is, how long it took someone to move from a brand new lead to a brand new customer (buying cycles tend to be far longer for more expensive or high-stakes products or services).

If possible you’ll want to measure cost per acquisition separately for each different lead source you’re using to promote your content. To do this, you need to track the lead source for your new customers. Then, divide the total number of customers you brought in from that lead source by the total amount you spent.

How To Improve

There are a few common issues that can cause your cost per acquisition to be higher than you’d like. Your sales conversion rates or your cost per conversion are usually the first culprits. You might be spending way too much on advertising or content promotion without getting a decent return. To fix this issue, focus on improving the quality of your traffic and your overall conversion rates. 

If you’ve got a low cost per conversion, but your cost per acquisition is still high, then that indicates a different problem: lead nurture. Focus on the communications your lead receives after opting in for your content, and look for opportunities to close the sale more effectively.

Customer Lifetime Value

When evaluating your cost per acquisition metrics, you need to know how much a new customer is worth to you. This calculation is known as customer lifetime value.

What’s considered a “high” cost per acquisition can vary greatly from campaign to campaign. There’s no sense in making a judgment on your cost per acquisition (i.e., how much you’re willing to spend to get a customer) unless you know what kind of revenue that customer is most likely to bring in during his or her entire buying relationship with you. 

As long as your cost per acquisition is relatively low in comparison to your customer lifetime value, you’re in good shape.


You can calculate your customer lifetime value using this tool.

How To Improve

Is your customer lifetime value sagging below where you want it to be? There are plenty of reasons why this might happen. You can fix it by creating more content specifically for existing customers that adds value and educates them on how to use your product. Look for gaping holes in your internal processes for customer service. Create forums or communities via social media designed to foster relationships. The problem may also simply be that you haven’t asked your customers for repeat business — do you have any cross-sells or upsells? What can you offer your previous customers that they would want to buy from you again?

Churn Rate

Do you know what proportion of your customers you lose over time?  This is an important figure to know, especially if you sell your product on a recurring subscription basis. According to RJMetrics, “Your churn rate is the amount of customers or subscribers who cut ties with your service or company during a given time period. These customers have ‘churned.’”

Want to find out what your churn rate is? Use this handy tool.


Your churn rate is the amount of customers or subscribers who cut ties with your service or company during a given time period. These customers have ‘churned.’

How To Improve  

To fix a high churn rate, you need to focus on creating a remarkable customer experience. You need to do some digging and find out why customers are leaving. Is it because they don’t understand how to use your product?

Focus on creating content that educates them and motivates them to stick with your product or service. To boost customer loyalty, try creating an online forum or social media community designed to foster relationships between your customers and your team.

Average Time on Page

This measurement tells you whether or not your audience is engaging with your content the way you want them to. If the average time on page is abnormally low (much less time than it would take the average reader to consume the page content), that probably means that your audience isn’t finding the content engaging.

How To Improve  

To fix low average time on page, make your page content more enticing. To keep people on your page for longer, take a look at your most popular content and see what you can learn. Try adding images, videos, more examples or a better headline.

Total Pixeled Audience

If your content promotion strategy involves retargeting ads, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your total pixeled audience. This measurement refers to the total number of visitors you can retarget with ads via social media or other display networks to bring them back to your owned media. 

Whether you are using Facebook Ads, Google Adwords or another advertising campaign, you’ll need to install a script into the header or footer of any page on which you want to track visits.

This script, known as a “pixel,” adds a cookie to your visitors’ browsers. This allows you to target those with cookied browsers in order to bring them back to your content. The rationale for this is that if they’ve clicked on one of your ads or visited your other content in the past, they’re much more likely to revisit your content than a cold audience.
 

How To Improve

To increase the total number of pixeled audience members, focus on beefing up your cold advertising campaigns. Getting more people to the page with your pixel on it is your main goal. Keep in mind, to meet your goal, you’ll need to send more traffic than you might think. If your audience has an adblocker installed or another browser extension that disables cookie tracking, they won’t be included in your pixeled audience.

Social Media Shares

To find out whether your content is really engaging your readers, you need to know how many of them liked it so much that they chose to share it with their friends via social media.

Pamela Vaughn at Hubspot asks, “How many people are sharing your ebook's landing page on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+? Social media shares is a great secondary metric to analyze how well your ebook offer resonates with your audience and the sentiment of your audience toward your content.” Of course, you’ll want to measure social media shares for more than just ebooks — you can track them for just about any type of content.

To track how many people share your content, install a share button for each social media platform. Most social networks provide a code you can share on your page that will allow readers to easily share and keep track of your total shares.

Here’s where to find the button code for some major social media networks:

Inbound Links

Keeping track of how many other websites are linking to your content is a great way to measure how well your earned media strategy is performing. You can find out how many inbound links there are to your content by pasting its URL into Moz or Backlink Checker.

Having many inbound links not only sends more readers to your site from other sites, but they can help you improve your domain authority for better overall SEO.

How To Improve

To increase the total number of inbound links to your content, you should focus on creating a backlink outreach campaign to connect with as many site owners and content creators as you can.

SEO Ranking

Advertising and social sharing aren’t the only ways people can discover your content — search engines are also another valuable source of traffic.

When someone does a search in Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine, they’re directed to a search engine results page (sometimes called SERP). Here’s a handy definition from WordStream: “Search engine results pages are web pages served to users when they search for something online using a search engine, such as Google. The user enters their search query (often using specific terms and phrases known as keywords), upon which the search engine presents them with a SERP.”






Increase search rankings lead to increased traffic, and increased leads!

Pamela Vaughan, Hubspot
Boosting your search engine rankings is one of the very best side effects of great content marketing. Creating content that people search for and discover in search engines is a smart way to drive traffic and start boosting page conversions for free.
 

How To Improve

If your search ranking is on the third or fourth page back, the problem might be that your content is poorly optimized for search engine traffic. This could mean that Google (or other search engines) don’t know what’s on the page, so they don’t display it as a result even though it’s relevant to the search. 

It could also be because your target keywords are common in your niche which puts you in direct competition with everyone else for good search engine ranking. 

To fix this, focus on your overall SEO strategy — making sure you’ve got appropriate page titles, tags, keywords and more. Be sure that your web pages are crawl-friendly (that means Google will know what’s on them), and try aiming for more niche keywords that have less competition. For more info on SEO, check out our insightful infographic on how to boost your SEO ranking.

To Sum it Up

Learning how to measure and improve the stats above is your secret weapon to a successful automation strategy. Although it may seem overwhelming at first, don’t let it hold you back — just pick a few stats that are closely related to your specific marketing automation goals and start measuring them on a regular basis. Before you know it, you’ll start connecting the dots and gaining even more insight than you have now.

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